Nagano JALT:

Possibilities of Learning on the Move: Investigating an Intelligent Mobile Phone-based Vocabulary Tutor

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2008 Time: 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Speaker: Glenn Stockwell, Ph.D. Waseda University

Mobile learning has been identified for some years now as the future direction that CALL as a field is expected to move, and technologies are becoming more accessible to a wider range of learners. In saying this, while the use of mobile devices for language learning has sparked the interest of an increasing number of researchers in recent years (e.g., Thornton & Houser, 2001; Aizawa & Kiernan, 2003), our knowledge of learners' preferences for the mobile platform and their usage patterns remains limited. A recent study by Stockwell (2007) showed that learners who were given the option of completing vocabulary activities on either a mobile phone or desktop computer were far more likely to use the desktop computer than the mobile phone, with over half of the learners failing to perform any of the activities on the mobile phone at all. While commonly cited reasons such as the small screen and the higher cost of the phone were mentioned by the learners in the above study as well, this still leaves several questions regarding learners' preparedness for mobile-based language learning activities. Are learners prepared to use mobile phones for performing complex language learning activities, or is there still a preference for desktop computer environments? When and where do those learners who choose to use mobile phones use them, and why do they choose them? The current study investigated learners of English at a Japanese university who were assigned vocabulary learning activities on either a mobile phone or desktop computer. It sought to determine their intentions to use mobile phones for language learning if other options were available, to compare this with their actual usage patterns, and to determine when and why learners used mobile phones. Learner attitudes and preferences were elicited through a post-survey, and usage patterns were determined through analysis of detailed server logs. The results are discussed in terms of the readiness of learners to undertake mobile-based language learning activities, and whether there is still a need to provide alternatives until the mobile phone becomes more established as a language learning tool.

Organization: Nagano Chapter (formerly the Shinshu Chapter) of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Nagano JALT)

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 1,000 yen

Venue: Matsumoto M-Wing, Room 4-2, across from PARCO

Location: Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan


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